At 550 grams and about 28 cm long, your baby continues to grow at a rapid pace. The head now measures 5-6 cm in diameter, and the little femurs, which will become the biggest bones in the body, are 4 cm. The skin is developing pigment and those little lungs are filled with amniotic fluid until birth. At the moment of birth, the amniotic fluid will be pressed out when the baby’s rib cage is squeezed together in the birth canal – and the next breath the baby takes will fill the lungs with air! As of now, the foetus is legally considered a baby in many places, because medically speaking, it is considered viable. It’s incredibly rare to give birth this early in a pregnancy, but the legal regulation entitles the baby to medical care and an effort would be made to save the baby if it were born now.
You may be starting to feel like you’re getting in the groove of being pregnant – life is rolling on and your belly is growing. It might feel like it’s too soon to plan for parental leave. But the fact is that the more you consider now, the less you’ll have to do (and think about!) when the baby has arrived and your brain is foggy from comforting, feeding and putting the baby to sleep. We can promise you that planning and admin are the last things you’re going to feel like doing then. Check the rules that apply where you live. Generally, no more than two months before you want to go on leave, you will need to notify your employer. Read up with the relevant authority on how parental leave works where you live and find out what they need in order to help you. If you’re having a baby with a partner, this is the time to talk about how you will split parental leave, if applicable. This process isn’t always friction-free. Research shows that relationships benefit from sharing parental leave. In addition, you can never get back that first period of time with your baby, as they say. Practically speaking, your arrangements are all up to the two of you – you know what is best for your child and your relationship!
Get out the calendar! It’s soon time to plan your parental leave. The earlier you talk about how you want to arrange your time, the better. It will be one less thing to think about when your little one has arrived – when just getting out the door will feel like a trip around the globe. How you choose to divide leave between the two of you is up to you as a pair. Research shows that relationships benefit from shared parental leave, and however tiring it may sound, those early months with your baby only happen once. Of course, everyone has different circumstances and conditions. Find out how parental leave works with the relevant authority in your area, if applicable. And don’t assume that shared finances will take a hit if the higher earner is home the least. For many families, it can even pay to do the opposite, due to tax effects and the parental salary with which many employers now top off the state parental benefit (in Sweden). So start figuring out what applies for you and make a plan. In many places, you are entitled to parental leave and your employer cannot decline to offer it. But you do probably need to notify your employer at least two months before you want to go on parental leave – check what applies where you live.